MEDIA RELEASE 15 December 2010: Tragic incident a harrowing reminder of the dangers facing asylum seekers in their search for safety
In response to reports that a boat carrying asylum seekers crashed off Christmas Island earlier today, Andrew Beswick, Campaigns Director for Amnesty International Australia, said:
"This tragic incident is a reminder of the very real risks that asylum seekers take in their search for safety. The decision to get on a boat to seek asylum is never taken lightly, and it should be remembered that asylum seekers who come to Australia are human beings asking for our help.
"In the vast majority of cases, asylum seekers who come to Australia by boat are found to be genuine refugees fleeing violence and persecution. Today’s events are a distressing reminder of the heavy price that these people sometimes pay in their search for protection."
"While the exact details of this incident are still emerging, it is a reminder of the fact that human beings are at the heart of the debate around asylum seekers."
"Nobody wants to see asylum seekers risking their lives by undertaking dangerous boat journeys in search of safety. However, in reality, the only way of preventing asylum seekers from attempting such journeys is to provide them with viable alternatives. This includes increasing the capacity and willingness of countries across the Asia Pacific to protect refugees."